There are some recipes that are so good you almost don’t want to share them. They blow the minds of your guests and your family. So you think to yourself “self keep this one to yourself”. This amazing pear and apple crumble inspired by the amazing Orgasmic Chef’s Poached Pear and Apple Crumble is one of “those” recipes. It’s simply spectacular.
When I made plans to ask Maureen of Orgasmic Chef to be involved in my Burning Down The Kitchen series I knew exactly which recipe I wanted to make. Maureen has so many amazing recipes, but her Poached Pear and Apple Crumble had been calling my name for some time. I almost changed my mind and made her Quick and Easy Strawberry Tart but in the end my mind just kept going back to the crumble. It’s funny how some recipes just speak to you. This one didn’t just speak, it screamed at me to make it. The result was fabulous. But then I’m not surprised, Maureen is an amazing cook.
I met Maureen through blogging and we just sort of clicked. She’s just one of those people who the more you get to know them, the more you want to get to know them on a deeper level. She is incredibly kind and supportive of other bloggers. She makes time in her day to visit her blogging friends and I am always so impressed with her upbeat, easy-going attitude. There’s no ego with Maureen, she is just so down to earth and approachable. Getting to know her is a pleasure. Making one of her recipes in an honour!
BURNING DOWN THE KITCHEN WITH THE ORGASMIC CHEF:
1. How did you get started blogging?
I’d moved to Australia after meeting John online and I kept getting questions from my kids in the states about “how do you make stuffed shells?” or “what’s your grandmother’s stuffing recipe again?” or “Mom, do you remember that chocolate marble cheesecake I liked so much?” So I decided I’d make a blog.
2. What’s the best part of the experience for you?
Definitely the people I meet. I’ve met the most incredible, talented people through blogging and my food knowledge has increased 20-fold.
3. Have there been any negatives to the experience?
Yes, I allow people to challenge my confidence like when I quit my food writer friday series. That was dumb but at the time I thought, “Maybe she’s right.” I won’t do that again.
4. Where does inspiration come from for your dishes?
From restaurants, my neighbour who’s a great cook, my children, tv, cookbooks, or a stroll through a farmer’s market.
5. You run more than one blog and a dating site, and Easy Recipe, how do you balance it all?
I work all the time. Sometimes I think I’m nuts but I’d be bored doing one thing and the one that takes up most of my time is on the market so I’m happy about that.
6. Tell us a little bit about Easy Recipe? What inspired you to start that business?
We had no intention of starting a business with EasyRecipe. I downloaded a plugin for my blog and it wanted me to decide the taxonomies, enter in an amount in one box, and then a measurement like teaspoon in another box and then the ingredient went in the next box and finally I had to tick a box to get a new line.
I went to John and said something like, “I’m not a geek, can you write something for me that I can paste in and you can do all the work in the background? I want a nice layout that I can adjust live so I can see how it looks (I don’t do that very well in my head) and I want all the Google bits so I can have a photo and a rating.
He said he didn’t want to but he would. I liked it so much I suggested he put it on WordPress and lots of food writers felt the same way about wanting to cook and blog and not be a geek.
The one thing that was difficult was the support. It’s one thing to write a piece of software and give it away but sorting out conflicts with other plugins, conflicts with themes, etc., takes time and John was spending all day every day answering queries. Mostly for things that were not his fault. He even recoded one blogger’s theme because it was so poorly written.
7. You work alongside your hubby with the websites, does he also help you in the kitchen?
He does the industrial eating. If it’s REALLY good I get, “hey, that’s all right.”
8. Tell us a little about life in your beautiful country? I am seriously envious, you have no idea!
It’s a wonderful place to live. It’s expensive, it either rains all the time or it never rains, most every bug can kill you, but the people are fantastic and the landscape is beautiful. I have learned the phrase “She’ll be right,” meaning don’t worry, life sorts itself out.
We live on a canal in a beach community and it’s 20 minutes to the Pacific Ocean by kayak. And no, I’ve never done that. It’s 5 minutes to a 20 mile beach by car.
9. Have you always enjoyed cooking, or did it come about over time?
My mother didn’t encourage cooking in her kitchen by anyone but her or my grandmother. I think she felt (knew) we wouldn’t clean up and she was a white glove woman. I did watch and learn and when I went off to college I left with a recipe box that has grown over the years.
10. When people come to your place for dinner what’s the typical feast comprised of? From starters to dessert, I’m making a mental note for when I visit one day.
One of my favourite meals was a starter of a puff pastry tart with caramelized onions on the bottom, semi dried tomatoes and feta and drizzled with pesto once baked. It’s yummy. Carrying on the onion theme, I served a pork tenderloin with a marmalade made from onions, apples, prunes and balsamic vinegar. It goes well with chateau potatoes and roasted pumpkin (butternut squash). Dessert was Illes Flottante, a French dessert of a mountain of meringue sitting in creme anglais. Finally after sitting for ages, a cheese platter finished with coffee and chocolates. When shall I pencil you in for?
11. If you had to choose between fruit and veggies which one would you pick?
That’s really tough because I love fruit but couldn’t live without veggies.
12. Do you prefer sweet or savoury for snacking?
As anyone can tell by looking at my shape – sweet.
13. After a hard day do you reach for wine, beer, cocktails, or something like coffee or tea?
I’ve never had a day hard enough to reach for a cocktail but I do enjoy them. I drink with friends but I’m not a big drinker. Think cheap drunk. I’m able to dance on the table stone cold sober.
14. Given a choice between beef, pork or chicken which would you go for?
Probably chicken but it would depend on how it’s been prepared.
15. Soup or salad with dinner?
16. If you had the opportunity to cook with one person from history, who would it be and why?
I instantly thought of Jacques Pepin but I doubt he’s history yet. I’d have to say Auguste Escoffier, the king of chefs. I bet he could teach me a thing or three.
17. What 3 kitchen gadgets could you not live without?
I could live without anything but a spoon and knife but I really like my Thermomix, my Kitchenaid mixer and my ice cream machine.
18. Favourite all time cookbook?
I didn’t have a favorite cookbook until I moved to Australia. I bought and was given a 2nd A Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander. With her help I was able to go from a 110v fahrenheit American to a 240v celsius fairly decent cook. It’s funny but I had a bit of difficulty when I first moved here. None of the meat cuts looked the same and that temperature thing on the oven was different and it was fan-forced and my food was crap. Stephanie sorted all that out for me.
19. Favourite all time chef or blogger?
Gosh, how could anyone choose just one? It’s a toss up but it would have to be Elise Bauer from simplyrecipes.com because she’s incredibly successful, produces real food and still has time to connect with other bloggers in a very real, human, helpful way.
20. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Is blogging still a big part of the picture?
I hope so but you never know where things will take you. I love what I do and we have new things (finally) launching soon like fooderific.com which instantly and automatically adds EasyRecipe users’ recipe photos. (only for those who’ve ticked the box) We don’t publish recipes, and link straight back to the blog. It’s our way of saying thanks for using our plugin. We don’t keep everything though. It has to be a photo of the recipe it links to.
Dare Portion of Burning Down The Kitchen:
Take a photo of your favourite foodie place to shop, all the better if you’re in the photo!
Can I just say how amazing this lady is. She just inspires me so much. I feel so privileged to have gotten to interview her today.
I am so thrilled with how this recipe turned out. I slightly adapted Maureen’s Poached Pear and Apple Crumble. It tastes like heaven and looks beautiful.
- 4 granny smith apples
- 4 pears, any will do
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 4 tablespoons of brown sugar, use vanilla brown sugar if you have it
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Peel both the pears and apples, then cut into pieces. Pop them in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. If you find them watery you can drain off some of the excess, or use a touch of cornstarch to help thicken the water. Do not do both of these things, one or the other.
- Remove from heat and add brown sugar and almond extract.
- Pour the pear and apple mixture into a casserole pan (9 x 13, or small dutch oven)and spread out.
- Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl until it resembles coarse crumbs. Spoon over top of the pear and apple mixture. Smooth out.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until top in light golden brown.
- Remove from oven and try to allow to cool. (hardest step ever)
- Serve with a big old "I ate the whole pan" smile!
I cannot stop eating this stuff. I made it yesterday and it’s almost all gone. It’s worthy of having a spoon in each hand.
*not that I did that or anything*
I encourage you all to go visit Maureen‘s site, Orgasmic Chef. You will love her as much as I do. She also has another site she works on, with Helene of Masala Herb, called Food Writer Friday. This site was a favourite of many people so now Maureen and Helene have teamed up to make a new site devoted to the popular series Food Writer Friday.
Maureen and her husband also run EasyRecipe. It’s a recipe plugin for websites that is super easy to use, hence the name. About half of my recipes are on the Easy Recipe format. For those unfamiliar it’s compatible with being a Ziplist partner. I was unaware of that and am now seriously glad I know that. You can use their basic plugin or you can upgrade to EasyRecipePlus which is my plan for my site. It’s a really dynamic plugin for anyone looking to have the print recipe feature on their site. Maureen and her hubby are super helpful if you’re a doofus like me who does not get along well with technology.
If having a two blogs and a plugin wasn’t enough, Maureen and her hubby also run Fooderific, a photo driven website to help food lovers and food blogs connect. It’s a fabulous site and I encourage you all to check that out.
But wait, that isn’t all. Maureen also runs another site called Suncoast Gourmet. I am not kidding. This woman is a freaking dynamo. The site is wicked cool and you get the feel for her beautiful homeland while visiting.
I’m exhausted by this woman’s work ethic. Not only does she run all these successful sites but she always, and I mean always, makes time for her foodie friends. I basically want to be Maureen when I grow up. Just putting that out there.
Hope you enjoyed getting to know Maureen as much as I have.
A big thanks to Maureen for allowing me the absolute pleasure of having her at the asylum today. I love that she got in the spirit of it all and posed for such a hilariously cute photo.
Toodles and smoochies! xx